You probably already know that I’m a writer specializing in corporate and marketing communications. I may have told as much you myself and it’s quite true. I’ve spent a lot of years helping all kinds of organizations explain who they are, what they do and, most importantly, why the people they hope to reach should care. Boiled down to its basics, my job is to identify what makes a client’s story unique; tell it clearly, effectively and memorably; and send a thoughtfully worded invoice.
When I’m questioned at the border I also call myself a communications consultant, because sometimes saying you’re a writer doesn’t tell the whole story (or gets you marched off to an interrogation room). And the fact is I do much more than put words together. I ask clients a lot of questions, get a handle on what the big challenge seems to be and propose a plan for tackling it. Then usually (though not always) I sit down in a quiet room and write something that addresses all the issues.
On a good day this is easy because I have some clients who know exactly what they want to say. Others shape a plan in response to my questions and just keep talking while I madly scrawl notes. I can work either way. And whatever the topic loyalty marketing, hiking in the Andes, data encryption, the perfect saucepan it comes down to a few simple rules: Nail every detail. Test every assertion. Finesse every phrase. Meet every deadline. And write every first draft as if it’s your last.
The Nobel people remain coy but I’ve been pretty gratified by the results so far. I’ve helped every imaginable type of client reach business customers, consumers, shareholders, community partners audiences of all shapes and sizes, from giant institutions to that one decision maker who makes all the difference. So if you think I can help with something you’re working on, please get in touch. I’ll be happy to tell you everything except my bank PIN and the name of my invisible childhood friend.
Travel websites/ catalogues/brochures
Advertising (print and web)
Sales support programs
AIR MILES Reward Program
Brown + Hudson
Butterfield & Robinson
Curious Collection (Arjowiggins Fine Papers)
Greater Toronto Airports Authority
Greenville (SC) Convention & Visitors Bureau
Groupe SEB (All-Clad, Krups)
LoyaltyOne (Alliance Data)
National Film Board of Canada
Ontario College of Art & Design
Ontario Realty Corporation
Queen’s University School of Business
Relais & Châteaux
Rotman School of Management
Toronto Economic Development
University of Toronto Scarborough
YMCA of Greater Toronto
3 Gold Quill Awards for Writing from the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC)
A copywriting award from British Design & Art Direction (D&AD)
An annual report in the 50th anniversary Communication Arts Design Annual
A gold for annual report writing in the 2009 ARC awards
Profiles in Communication Arts, Graphics International, Applied Arts and elsewhere
Showcased work in the university textbook Advertising Concept and Copy (2006)
Signs of approval – like this from Applied Arts on my former firm: ‘elegant work… combining analysis, design, marketing skills and sustained brand-building acumen – producing breakthrough creative.’
Annual reports for a bank, a major university and a high-profile transportation authority
CSR reports for two large corporations
Brand development and web content for an international luxury travel company
A corporate brochure, an internal magazine, executive articles and case studies for a global loyalty marketing company
A vision brochure and video for a leading Canadian postsecondary institution
A direct response marketing campaign for a telecommunications company
Executive speeches on information privacy for conferences at Harvard and elsewhere
An update of a 125-year company history
A novel that my agent is shopping around while I hammer away at the next one
I was a founding partner of Viva Dolan Communications and Design, an award-winning Toronto-based consultancy that built a loyal international clientele from 1992 to 2008 (when we decided to head off in new directions).
Before that I was a corporate communications writer working for clients across North America and as far away as Brazil, Chile and Bolivia.
I started out in book publishing and subsequently worked in Canada and the UK as a freelance copywriter, journalist and editor.
Way back, I did an Honours BA at McGill and an MA at the University of Toronto.
Let’s see how I can help out with your communications challenges: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or call me at 416-726-4781.